It's over forty years since George Smiley first graced our TV screens, world weary, enigmatic, perceptive, and forced by circumstances back to the front line.
Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) echoes Smiley's circumstances and something of his character. Intelligence desk officer, Worricker, is given a briefing by his boss and oldest friend Benedict, played beautifully by Michael Gambon. "Read it," he exhorts Worricker... "Read it." And eventually, Worricker does. One sentence, on page eight, carries implications that interrupt his life of jazz and paintings, his daughter and ex-wives - even his strange encounter with his neighbour... Unless she's somehow involved.
As with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, this is not a riot of special effects, or car chases, or gun fights, or sex scenes. And Worricker doesn't fit so well with today's image of a hero. He doesn't appear to have beaten the ex-wives, they don't appear to hate him, he is not even completely repellent to his neighbour, although she (Rachel Weisz) is several years his junior. All this might contribute to the lowish 6.8 rating here. But it deserves better. The acting is excellent and story is good. In fact it's a disturbingly credible, if maybe unfashionable, reading of events around the 2nd Iraq war.
It's not perfect though. The jazz, and the music in general, don't live up to early promise, and a little more atmosphere and tension would have helped.
This is the first of a trilogy, the next being Turks and Caicos, which I might be watching tomorrow. 8/10.
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